Giants win Little League opener 6-3

NORTH CANAAN — The Northwest Connecticut Steve Blass Little League’s season began with a match-up between the two home teams on April 22. The Pirates and the Giants, both composed of players aged 10-12 from North Canaan, Cornwall, Falls Village, Norfolk, Salisbury, and Sharon, met at Steve Blass Field in North Canaan for their first game of 2023.

After some warm-up drills out on the field, the action began around 4:30 p.m. when the umpire exclaimed “play ball!” Both sides came out of the dug-out fired up and ready to go.

Brody Ohler of the Pirates was the first to touch home in the top of the first inning after stealing both second and third. Nate Young settled into his pitching rhythm and closed out the inning with two strikeouts for the Giants.

The Giants quickly got to work offensively and racked up four runs in the bottom of the first. Four players logged RBIs before Ohler, the Pirate’s pitcher, got his team out of the inning. At the end of the first, the Giants led 4-1.

Defense prevailed in the second inning for both teams as each pitcher put the batters out in order and added two more strikeouts apiece. In the third, Young added three more Ks for the Giants. The Pirates closed out the third on a double play with bases loaded to keep the score at 4-1.

In the top of the fourth, Jaxxon Rogers opened the inning with a double and was brought home by Ohler on the next at-bat. Ohler later came home as well to bring the score to 3-4.

The bottom of the fourth began with a bang when Cooper Bunce sent a dinger out of the park that nearly reached some cars parked along the street, well past the 200 foot marker at center field. Ohler closed out the inning with two more strikeouts for the Pirates and they trailed by two heading into the fifth.

Young got the Giants out of the top of the fifth with three more consecutive strikeouts. Brayden Foley relieved Ohler in the bottom of the fifth and secured two put-outs from the mound. An error allowed Sam Hahn to get on base for the Giants. He subsequently stole second and third before Jamison Boone brought him home to bring the score to 6-3.

Bunce closed out the game pitching for the Giants and sent some serious heat down the middle. The game concluded with a final score of 6-3 in favor of the Giants.

“Great first game,” said Giants Coach Adam Bunce. “No fear. We got up there and swung the bat.”

Young finished with 11 Ks for the Giants and Bunce logged three of his own as the closer. Bunce hit 2 for 2 with a homerun and an RBI. Young, Boone, Will Nichols, and Jackson Goodwin all hit 1 for 2 and brought in one run each.

Ohler ended with five Ks for the Pirates and hit 1 for 2 with an RBI. Rogers hit 2 for 3 with a double.

Both teams will be back on Steve Blass Field on Saturday, April 29, when they host two Torrington teams. The Pirates will play the Torrington Royals at 2 p.m. and the Giants will play Torrington Navy at 4 p.m.

Brody Ohler pitched five strikeouts and hit 1 for 2 with an RBI for the Pirates on April 22. Photo by Riley Klein

Tommy Downey of the Giants forced out Brayden Foley at second base during the Little League opener. Photo by Riley Klein

Tommy Downey of the Giants forced out Brayden Foley at second base during the Little League opener. Photo by Riley Klein

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